I love the sound of that, in a super Hollywood way, a super hot forest fire lapping at the perimeter of Los Alamos, Leonard DiCaprio wiping a tear from the soot-smudged face of Kim Kardasian, the golden, diamond-studded bikini of whom dominates the national news for the fifth week running….
Gong! Awake again, we’re back in tinder-dry New Mexico, and the Conchas fire is approaching Los Alamos National Laboratory for real. We’ve been assured that the plutonium is safe from the heat and devastation, that we are safe. Try as I might, I can’t remember being in this position, where I’ve no choice to believe something because the alternative is unthinkable. I was at Kung Fu Panda the other day, and when I emerged from the theatre, I looked west and saw the smoke plume several miles high, like a nuclear bomb went off. The real thing could happen. I don’t care what they say, it could happen. I and pretty much the entire population of this state cannot be convinced otherwise.
There is literally nothing we can do. All the water I’ve conserved – Gus’ bathwater I’ve hauled outside in buckets, the toilets I haven’t flushed and pees I’ve taken in the yard, the drip irrigation system I spent a hundred fifty dollars and a weekend on – counts for nothing now. At some point you can’t conserve what hasn’t fallen from the sky.
Sounds bleak, and no doubt it is, but this is a feeling I will try to remember for the rest of my life. The surrender to nature. The waning yet bottomless hope that swells in my chest at the sight of any dark cloud in the east that may be a sign that the monsoons have heard our prayers and are coming as fast as they can. There are thirty seconds left, we’ve got the ball on our own goal line. The rival fans are cheering, but Joe Montana’s under center. This game is far from over.